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Language, Literacy and Education

One of the biggest recent changes in education has to do with how we learn to read and write and how this is taught in schools.

There have been many sweeping changes in our Western way of life introduced after the war.

Television arrived. People from one end of a country to the other listened to the same programs, watched the news, followed the soaps, loved and laughed at the same figures, together. And as they did, they began to talk and think and dress the same way. People moved into cities away from the countryside, schools got bigger and school budgets smaller.

One of the biggest and most profound changes to take place was to do with how our children are taught to read.

The tried and tested Phonics approach went out the window and kids were left floundering,

The result is that many children leave primary school unable to read properly.

Diane McGuinness tackles this head-on in her book “Why Children Can’t Read” And What We Can Do About It.

Her analysis of the changes in the education system in the English speaking world in recent generations is vital to understanding what went wrong and why.

Hers is not a narrow view. She compares the development of spoken language and the reading and writing systems developed in such different languages and cultures as Chinese, Egyptian, Greek, Sumerian, Russian, Hindu, Arabic, Hebrew cultures, cultures both present and past and brings it together into a simple, logical system that works.

This is one of the most vital books you can read if you want to understand a key factor in development and continuing existence of our culture.

Being able to read and to write are vital skills in our modern world.

Individual prosperity and cultural richness are interdependent, built on a bedrock of language, spoken and written and read with understanding.

BORON — How It Helps with Arthritis

I am quoting here a paper by Dr Rex Newnham.

He called it “Boron, The Neglected Element is Essential for Sustainable Healthy Bones and Joints“.

Boron is a chemical element found in varying amounts in soil, rocks and water. It is essential for plant growth and without sufficient boron in the soil, plants are unable to grow. If it is not in the soil or water, it is not in the plants grown on that soil, and is missing from the diet or animals or humans fed on foodstuffs grown on poor soils.

It tells the story of how he overcame the pain of arthritis and remained painfree for the rest of his life. In the course of his lifetime, he helped many people with his research and the simple formula he developed to handle the problems he experienced. It became popular and spread widely simply through word of mouth from satisfied people who had taken is advice and used his formula.

He also backed up his research with a publication called “Beating Arthritis and Beating Osteoporosis”.

Dr Newnham’s simple, low-cost and effective solution is designed to handle the mineral deficiency which underlies the conditions of arthritis and osteoporosis. This, of course, was not so popular with some drug companies which saw his simple mineral formula as competition for their patented, profitable, expensive drugs — drugs which did not improve people’s condition in the long term, only helped with the pain and sometimes had their own unpleasant side effects.

So let’s see what Dr Newnham wrote:

I spent most of the period of the 1980s doing epidemiological work and researching the areas of the world where there is more or less than the normal prevalence of arthritis of about 20%, and areas where there is more or less than the norm of boron in the soil or water.

The motivation for this work originated 35 years ago when I was living in Perth, Western Australia. Most of the soils around Perth are white sands which are very low in all essential minerals, but there are a few isolated areas with clay soils. At first I lived on one of these and all was well and we grew most of our own vegetables. Then we moved to an area where there was sandy soil. This had grown Banksia scrub and the sand was dark on the top and the first vegetable crop was fair, but the next year there was a terrible crop and every trace mineral was seen to be deficient in some plant or other. I had been trained in botany and had been teaching botany and soil science, so I could pick these deficiencies readily. At this time I developed arthritis and found walking difficult. The local GP gave me something which did not help, so I started to try to discover the cause of my own arthritis. With my training I naturally thought of soil minerals when these were all deficient in my diet. I looked at what the literature had to say about all of them – boron, calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, molybdenum, potassium and zinc. None were relevant to arthritis, but boron was written off as not needed by man or animal, yet I knew that it was essential to the green plant and that it helped in calcium metabolism in the plant.

I found out all that I could about boron and most of the literature dealt with its toxicity. 40-60 grams was a dangerous dose and children had been killed with much smaller doses, but there was nothing helpful. So I took 30 mg of borax twice daily, this was 6 mg of elemental boron a day and in a week the pain was less, in ten days the pain was less. In three weeks the pain, swelling and stiffness had all gone, so I stopped taking the borax. A year later the pain and swelling returned so I took more borax and in two weeks all was right again.

I then told the medical people at the university and the public health officials, but none of them were interested. Then I told a few people who had arthritis and they were thrilled as they were getting better. But it meant buying a packet of chemical that was labelled poison – for killing cockroaches and ants. Some were put off this recommendation and they persuaded me to have tablets made with a safe amount of boron.
I did this in 1976 and the first 1000 bottles took 2 years to sell. Then I got 2000 bottles and they went in 6 months, then 7000 went in six months, then 20,000 went in 8 months and another 20,000 went in six months, and another 20,000 went in 4 months and finally in 1981 the last 20,000 went in 2 months. That is 10,000 bottles in a month and all without advertising.

By this time I had retired from teaching and qualified as a naturopath, homeopath and nutritionist. I did attempt to do a normal medical degree but was too old to start at 55. I was employing people to handle the boron tablets and then I did a foolish thing and went to a drug company for help in marketing, thinking they would be interested in overcoming arthritis. But they were not interested; they were concerned at an opposition product. That company had men on at least two government committees and they had the law changed so that boron became an S4 poison and I was fined for selling a poison. They successfully destroyed my business in Australia, but by that time I had started exporting the same tablets and went to New Zealand, South Africa, America and Britain where they sold well. From half to 3/4 of a million people have benefitted from these boron tablets
From 1983 to 87 a double blind controlled pilot study was conducted in Melbourne. It only involved 20 people but of those who finished 70% gained much benefit. The trial only lasted for 2 months and later knowledge has shown that older people need 3 or even 4 months in order to get quite free of arthritic symptoms. Those in the trial were aged 50-75 and should have used the tablets for 3 or 4 months. There were no side effects and the 22 ancillary clinical, haematological and biochemical tests all proved that boron in these doses was not harmful or abnormal. (1) Then in the 1980s I carried out my epidemiological work and this meant nine trips around the world; I consulted Lawrence’s book to try to ascertain where there was more or less arthritis in a population (2). This made me look towards Jamaica and Mauritius for a start.

In Jamaica I hired a car and somebody who could act as interpreter as not everybody spoke English. I visited many farms and markets and saw all the essential mineral deficiency symptoms in all fruit and vegetable crops. Even the pine trees showed boron deficiency symptoms. Boron deficiency was very common. I visited the university departments of botany and medicine and the agriculture and forestry departments. All these people were helpful and showed concern. Even Mr. Jones, the Minister for Forests told me that some forests were owned by private companies and these had added boron to their fertilizer. Soil tests and analysis had been done by Dr. Weir and these showed a severe boron deficiency. Of the 34 soil types 29 of these had less then 0.5 parts per million (ppm) of available boron. l .5 ppm boron in the soil is considered normal. This had never been published in journals but the files were in departmental records. The reason for the severe boron deficiency was that NPK fertilizer had been used every year since l 872 and in the: 70′s and 80′s l5 hundred weight of fertilizer was used on every acre of sugar producing land every year, according to the Sugar Industry Research Institute. The University Medical Department said that there was 12% with erosion arthritis and they estimated that 70% of the population had some form of arthritis. It was even obvious that the dogs in Kingston were limping. Compared with other country shows that these people consumed less than 0.5 mg boron per day. When the land would not grow sugar farmers were allowed to try to grow food crops on that soil and they had little success.

Mauritius is another sugar producing island where similar fertilizer programmed were in use. Some prominent medical men from the Queen Victoria Hospital estimated that 50% of all people had some arthritic symptoms, and they were alarmed at the rise in juvenile arthritis; the Health Department would not give an estimate and would only say how many had entered hospital. Yet the Pampelmoussis botanic Gardens had wonderful plants that showed no mineral deficiency symptoms. This shows how continued application of NPK fertilizer without giving the soil a rest has a devastating effect on the health of soil, crops and people. In 1987 Dr. Woodun said that the soils of Mauritius were exhausted and nobody heeded him. Then in 1984 with my work a similar warning was given and was not heeded. Analyzes had shown that since 1962 the boron level in sugar cane leaf was steadily decreasing. The optimum level is 40 ppm and it was to decrease to 5-12 ppm by 1968. The critical level is 1 ppm when hardly anything will grow. The soil was worn out and so were the people.

Fiji is another sugar producing island in the Pacific where the sugar is produced by Indians who eat rice they grow themselves. At the other end of the island are the Native Fijians who eat starchy fruits and vegetables but little rice. The Indians had 40% with arthritis while the native Fijians only had 10%.

Visits were also made to Carnarvon in NW Australia where the water used for crop irrigation has 2 ppm boron. I met people who told me that they had gone there for a few months to enjoy the good climate so as to get rid of their arthritis. A survey was conducted in which school leavers took questionnaires to every fourth house, showed that 1% of the people had arthritis or joint problems. It was the good water and not the good climate. Some of the stations inland from Carnarvon had up to 7 ppm boron in the bore water and there was no arthritis in man or animal. Food crops often had over 100 ppm boron when analysed.

Ngawha in the far north of New Zealand has spa water with 300 ppm boron and they advertise that this spa is good for arthritis. In fact it is the main industry in Ngawha. Dr. Herbert in 1921 was the government balneologist and he wrote a book about the New Zealand spas in which he showed how some of these were very beneficial for arthritics. (2). He did not know why, but those that he mentioned as good for arthritics were all rich in boron.

Another interesting place was Israel where the water beneath the coastal plain contains 2-3 ppm boron, and this is used for irrigation. Even the Dead Sea is rich in boron and many have made claims that bathing in this water will heal many diseases including arthritis. Dr. Zve Bentwich has written a paper that shows there is 0.35% of the population with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and he estimated that a similar number had osteo arthritis (OA), (3).

In South Africa Prof. Meyers showed that the Xhosa tribal people had 2.2% with RA and this is consistent with other tribal peoples. When these same people go to live in the big cities such as Durban they soon develop the same prevalence for all arthritis as the rest of the population.

So it was decided to analyse some of their food which is mainly corn or mealies. That grown in the native areas is a poor looking corn with black, blue, red and yellow grains but it had 5 ppm boron, while the commercial ground maize sold in the supermarkets had only from 0.4 to 0.75 ppm boron. Even the commercially grown maize had only about l ppm or less of boron because it was grown with fertilizer. The University of Natal did many analyses for me to show this point.

In America and Finland there were many analyses of foods which showed the boron content, also estimates of actual boron consumption. The normal consumption of boron is between l and 2 mg per person per day, yet some consume 41 mg/day.

It is obvious that this average of 1-2 mg per day boron intake is not sustainable as regards good health. We need in the region of 6 to 8 mg per day and that will sustain good health as regards arthritic diseases. When we talk about sustainable medicine we should really be talking about sustainable health, and when this is applied to arthritic diseases and osteoporosis we need a good supply of boron and 6-8 mg a day is sufficient. Those with active disease are helped with 9-10 mg a day. I have been taking a boron supplement for 30 years and my wife also takes it every day and we have no joint problems.

The Human Nutrition Research Center in North Dakota has furthered some of my work and they have shown how 3 mg a day of boron will reduce the average loss of calcium in post menopausal women from 117 to 64 mg per day. The same boron will also raise the level of 17 beta estradiol to normal in these women. Dr. Forrest Nielsen shows that boron and calcium work together at the cell membrane and this affects the modification of hormone action. (5) Now there are many others who have shown how the arthritic diseases are associated with allergies. Allergies can also be caused by problems at the cell membrane level where the allergen or histamine or similar do not move freely across cell membranes. It looks as if boron may be very relevant here. In order to sustain good health we need 6 mg a day or more of boron which is now a food supplement or a medicine in some places. This is sustainable and is even essential for health.”

Here he tells his story in his own words and I have quoted his paper exactly as written. Below if you are interested you can see the references for his paper and the research it is based on.

It seems to me to be important to offer this information and circulate it. It may be of use to you personally or someone you know, to improve their health and live a more comfortable and active life.

My best wishes for you in 2019.

l . Lawrence J,S. Rheumatism in Populations. Heinemann. 1974
2. Herbert L.S. The Hot Springs of New Zcaland, HK Lewis & Co. London. 1921.
3. Bentwich Z. & Talmon Y. Prevalence of Rheumatois Arthritis in an Israeli Population. Hebrew University 1980.
4. Meyers OL, Daynes G, Beighton P.Rheumatoid Arthritis in a Tribal Xhosa Population in the Transkei, Southern Africa. Annals of Rheumatic Diseases. 36. 1977. P62-65
5. Nielsen F.H, Biochemical and Physiological Consequences of Boron Deprivation in Humans, Environmental HeaIth Perspectives. Vol. 102, Supplement 7, Nov. 1994. P59-65.

Education in the Western World

We think that the education of our children is something that takes place in good faith by well-intentioned people who have no other agenda than the betterment of our next generation.

Perhaps it was once so, and perhaps with individuals, it is still the so. There are teachers who believe in the unique value of each child under their care, they believe in the future of the race, they believe in the nurturing and furtherance of the young mind, hoping to develop the best qualities of each individual, in the service of his own life, his future and the family and community he is part of.

But what of the outside forces that shape our education system, introducing labels with stigma attached.

There is the child who is not taught to read with phonics on a step by step basis, building up familiarity and recognition with the sounds and shapes of the letters he is seeing, how to combine, how different combinations are used to show different sounds, shape the way a word is pronounced, shifting its meaning slightly to tell us details such as when the action took place, now or in the far distant past, or still dreamed of in a future time, whether one or more people were involved and so on.

When the child didn’t spend enough time for that child to learn the letters all of the alphabet and know them cold, then is it any surprise that the same child sometimes can’t read a word that begins with a letter he or she can’t recognise.

What would you say? You would probably say the first thing that came into your head when the teacher asked you to read aloud in class. It doesn’t mean the child has dyslexia or has a mental disorder needing a drug to handle it or glasses so he can read.

It just means the child needs to practice recognising the letters of the alphabet a bit more and learn how to put the sounds together with other letters to make the sounds that words are made up of.

It’s a skill learned at school, at the mother’s knee or grandmother’s kitchen table, wherever it takes place. But it needs to take place, in every language with every student if that child is to learn to read and write.

It used to be called “The Three R’s”; Reading, Writing and ‘Rithmetic.

That’s a bit old fashioned nowadays, and sounds a bit boring.

But it’s still the backbone and foundation of a skillset that sets the child up for life.

And no amount of psychobabble or medication will substitute for doing the work and learning the basics.

Real Nutrition — More About

There are a number of health of health improvements a person can make just by tweaking their nutrition. Now, I didn’t say diet, I said nutrition,

What’s the difference?Giving your body the building blocks it needs to be healthy and stay healthy is what really matters. Giving your body something you like because it tastes nice and you fancy eating some of it doesn’t mean it did your body any good. It doesn’t mean your body can take that stuff you just put in your mouth and use it to turn it into blood, beautiful silky hair, strong nails, teeth and bones and lovely skin.

It takes a variety of different things, all together, to add up to a strong, healthy body.

Some things we need more of, and some things we only need a little tiny bit of and it goes a long way to keep us in good health.

Minerals like copper, that lovely, shiny orange coloured metal, are vital for skin, and blood sugar levels. We only need small amounts, but when there’s not enough, it can really make a big difference.

Another simple element we need is sulphur. It’s in onions, garlic and similar vegetables. Your body loves it to make strong joints, to fight infections and it’s also good for our skin.

Manganese is something used to build the structure of bones, like scaffolding to support the work of other parts of the bones.

Some are well known like calcium and magnesium. They are stored in our bones so they are there like having money saved in the bank for when we need it when there’s not enough coming in. Where do you find these elements?
Surprisingly enough, there is loads of both these two nutrients in green, leafy vegetables.

Unfortunately, there’s not so much in donuts and biscuits, and a glass of coke.

So, mouthful for mouthful, when your food really works for all of your body and not just for the taste and the way it’s feeling good in your mouth, you’re heading in the right direction.

Amazon Programs for Success in 2018

There are a number of Amazon programs out there at the moment.

One of them is run under the brand “Amazing” and is by all accounts pretty amazing. The program has been on the go for a few year now, and has a number of successful followers. It also comes in at an Amazing price so is not for someone who is just starting out with little income to throw at it and who can’t afford to wait for the income or waste some on the way to successs.

Fortunately there are some other extremely successful and worthwhile program out there. There is one I am thinking of in particular which is run by Jim Cockrum. He calls his program the Proven Amazon Course.

It comes in at a fraction of the cost of the Amazing brand program. Jim is a long time on-line entrepreneur. He started out himself in the early days of ebay and went on to achieve great personal success. Inevitably, he was asked how did he do it and this led to another line of success as a leader and teacher.

What is so wonderful about Jim’s program is that he practices what he teaches so it comes with a healthy dose of reality. As well as that, whenever a person signs up with Jim, they have access to all future developments as he evolves his training to keep up with changes in the market, rules on lines and fashions and trends in business.

Jim also has a loyal and devoted following who are willing to go beyond and help others to succeed. So with all these benefits and advantages, Jim has created an extremely valuable training resource and community who will help you with advice, answering questions, sharing results and experience.

Some of the people who have followed Jim have gone on to build million dollar businesses making sales on Amazon, both inside and outside America. His methods and advice are not confined to America and Americans.

Over the coming months, I will be looking at different programs and ways of making additional income on line.

New Year Resolutions 2018

As we come to the end of 2017, many of us will make New Year’s Resolutions for the coming year.

Common themes are to lose weight and live healthier.
Take out a gym membership. Get up early and go workout before we hit the day….
Buy a juicer and drink those greens we can’t stand any other way.

Say goodbye in January to the comfortable life of the couch potato. And dream about a new a better you

Well, here’s a video that describes a change that’s well worth making.

It gives a lot of return all for a change of routine. And the good thing is it won’t have to cost you a penny more. And it might just give you that last bit of information you needed to know to get the result you wanted.

So take a look.

I’ll be checking this out and putting it to use.

Looking forward to a new slimline you.

All the best in 2018.

How to Achieve Success

There are some keys to success in an online business or activity.

It starts with determination.

In order to succeed, you have to take action, and again, and again, and again. It isn’t a case of starting, doing something once and then doing nothing more. It requires continuous creation. Can be fun, sometimes just hard grind. But if you don’t do enough of it and keep at it, success will not be able to find you.

That brings us to persistence.

By doing a little often through time, we can achieve greater things. It takes time for action to build into volume. It doesn’t have to take a lot of time. It’s like exercise: going to the gym every day for a week, for 30 mins a day brings more result than doing 3 hours on a Friday.

A Colourful Change in Afghanistan

This short video from the BBC caught my eye.

A change taking place in Afghanistan in an unexpected direction shows a colourful scene in Afghanistan


“Outlander” brings to life a Scotland past and a Scotland present.

Watching Jamie in his traditional kilt enacting the part of a Scottish laird in the 1740′s
popularises the Scottish culture and ethos around the world. With his Scottish Highlander
integrity and values of honour, hospitality, friendship, loyalty, he give inspiration to a
way of life that was suppressed by the English then event until now. The Gaelic language,
once widespread throughout the country, nowadays, is spoken only in a few parts of the country,
mostly the more remote and rural areas in the West and North.

It is interesting that a Gaelic speaker once told me, there is no word in Gaelic for enemy.
There is only an “unfriend” and no word for “hate”

It is also interesting that a film series about characters living in Scotland during the
time of the Scottish Wars of Independence, the Jacobite Rebellion and the various battles
that took place around that time such as the Battle of Culloden and the Battle of Prestonpans
should be so popular around the world.

Apparently, David Cameron, as Prime Minister, had not wanted the series to be shown in the
United Kingdom, as he didn’t want to increase the popularity of Scottish Independence ahead
of the Scottish Independence Referendum. And so, it was produced by Hollywood, filmed in
Scotland and released worldwide, but unknown in Scotland for quite some time after its

Earlier this year, I met a group of Chinese teachers visiting the UK from a city I had never
heard of in central China. But they had watched “Outlander” — and loved it whilst I had never
heard of it nor seen it.

Later in the year, I paid a visit to Doune Castle in Central Scotland, where my nieces had once
played hide and seek as children near the village where they grew up.

Doune Castle was used as the location for Castle Leoch. This time, it was mobbed by tourists
and visitors from all over the world, Japanese, American, German, French visiting the locations
of Outlander or following the Jacobite trail. With parking (which was full) and copies of Diane
Galbadon’s Outlander series of books for sale, the Castle has taken on a new life.

A man with American accent approached: “Do you speak English?” Relieved that we did, he wanted
to know, Do you know what the name of that pretty pink flower is that’s growing by the roadside?
We did and could tell him. It’s Rosebay Willow Herb.

All along the roadsides leading up to the Castle and for miles around, the verges were thick
with vast swathes of willow herb, turning hills and lochsides pink, next to mounds of purple
heather just unfolding its tiny bells. And rowan berries turning scarlet as they ripened.

Claire would have been happy with all the herbs and plants.

So with that in mind, here are some of the favourite Scottish locations of the artist and crew
working on Outlander.

Here is Jamie’s favourite, and I have to agree with him, even my blog header is based on photos
I took of Skye. And Skye is one of my favourite places in Scotland.

And to add to that is Kinloch Rannoch, used for the setting of the standing stones scenes where Claire
is transported back to the past.

It would only be appropriate that the character who plays Prince Charles Stuart, Andrew Gower, would love
Stirling Castle, the childhood home of the Stuart Kings just before the Union of the Crowns when a Stuart king of the
Scots became the King of England.

How Tom Cruise Creates Films

The way that Tom Cruise works is something fascinating to find out more about. This short video interview is very revealing. It shows how he works, how he adapts his story line as he creates a film, how he creates the character. Inspiring stuff.

In this interview with Marc Fennel we here from Tom how he develops his story and what makes him tick.

I wanted to share this story with you.

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